Government leaders are mobilizing to launch the distribution of the consumption vouchers with a bang Sunday, while local governments, airlines and telecom service providers are joining the fight to catch consumers' attention.
The Cabinet announced last year it would give each Taiwanese national and foreign spouse vouchers worth NT$3,600 to boost domestic consumption as a way out of the global economic crisis. Premier Liu Chao-shiuan said the program would add 0.64 percent to the year's Gross Domestic Product growth figure. Thousands of distribution points will be operating this coming Sunday, but consumers who miss the first day can pick up the vouchers at their neighborhood post office beginning early next month.
Government leaders though want to set the example for early reception and early spending of the vouchers, which will be distributed as in six copies of NT$500 and three of NT$200 each.
President Ma Ying-jeou, Vice President Vincent Siew and Liu will all be picking up their vouchers in Taipei, but will immediate travel to different cities to spend them, media reports said yesterday.
Ma is planning to spend his first voucher in Kaohsiung, while he will distribute the rest over different shops and different items to express his support for various business sectors, media said.
Siew will travel to Chiayi City, while Liu will stay in Taipei to use his vouchers. Presidential secretary-general Chan Chuen-pohxx would spend vouchers in his native region of Changhua, the media said.
The Presidential Office was also encouraging other branches of government and the ruling Kuomintang to set an example and collect the vouchers as soon as possible, according to media reports.
Local governments and private businesses have also thought up numerous ways to attract the vouchers, by giving extra benefits to consumers or letting them participate in special lottery drawings.
The Changhua County Government offers the chance of winning either a plot of land in Yuanlin township or NT$6 million in cash to anyone who spends NT$1,000 in the county between Sunday and Oct. 5. The scheme is just one of many similar projects to attract consumers.
In Taichung City, the prizes are luxury apartments, with both the local government and a hotel holding separate drawings for voucher spenders. Shih Hsin University in Taipei will allow students to pay some of their fees using the vouchers, and is counting on collecting NT$40 million worth of vouchers. Other schools will collect the vouchers to donate to charity projects. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is working on a plan to pay NT$10,000 per bus filled with 40 travelers on the condition that the tourists use vouchers to pay for their travel insurance. The ministry says it hopes the project will feature 2,000 buses between March and August.
Taiwan's airlines are also getting in on the act with promotions giving away extra mileage to customers who pay with vouchers.
China Airlines will sell a hundred tickets a day over the Internet for two weeks beginning Sunday to 30 Asian destinations, including China, Japan, India and Thailand.
EVA Air gives discounts to travelers buying tours to destinations including Europe and China, while domestic airlines are also planning to add more value to passengers buying tickets using the vouchers.
Cell service operator Vibo Telecom Inc. gives customers spending NT$500 in vouchers the chance to stop pay operating fees and winning a phone, while rivals Far EasTone and Chunghwa Telecom offer discounts on certain phone models.